Last year, Opening Day was tough.
It was going to be tough. It didn't come as a surprise. Any Cardinals fan could have told you the night that Oscar Taveras died that it was going to be tough, had the pageantry of the pregame festivities which were still five and a half months away crossed our minds. Which it didn't. We had much larger concerns.
October 26, 2014 is a night that I know I will never forget. I was sitting in the recliner in my living room, the same one in which I am typing this sentence. Game 5 of the World Series had not yet started and I was casually scanning Twitter. I saw a tweet in Spanish referencing Taveras retweeted into my timeline. I'm far from fluent in Spanish, but I do know the word "muerte", so I panicked and tried to translate the tweet. Having a general idea of what it said, I hoped that the account was misreporting or was taking some perverse joy in breaking the hearts of Cardinals fans.
I had never wanted so badly to believe in the worst in people.
It still doesn't make sense. He was 22. Twenty-two. He had struggled during his only season in Major League Baseball, but for anybody who watched him that season, he cannot be defined by what the statistics say he was, because he was so much more than that.
Taveras made a horrible and reckless mistake that was likely a significant contributing factor to his death, but that doesn't mean that the punishment he received was fair. And it certainly wasn't fair that his close friend, teammate Carlos Martinez, had to continue on without him. And as necessary as an Opening Day tribute to Taveras was, and as beautiful and poignant of a moment as last year's home opener had with Lance Lynn consoling a visibly upset Martinez, I would much prefer a world in which it did not have to happen.
This year, mercifully, the Cardinals will have an Opening Day which is purely a celebration. As much consternation as we may have had during the off-season about the on-field future of the team, there was nothing comparable to the pain of what the Cardinals and their fans experienced after the 2014 season.
So let's have some fun today. Baseball is back in St. Louis.
Of course, baseball was back for the Cardinals outside of St. Louis over the weekend. If you weren't checking VEB, here is what you may have missed.
Ben Markham guessed in February where the top prospects in the Cardinals' organization would play in 2016, and on Saturday, he kept himself honest by evaluating his own prognostication. Although Ben did fairly well, he did miss on a few players, but to his credit, he is willing to fess up to it rather than going back and editing his old posts (not that I would ever consider something like that, that would be dishonest...)
April 9, 2016: We won!
Noted Carlos Martinez enthusiast and apparent nocturnal lil scooter (seriously, this went up at 2:12 a.m., bless her work ethic on this) wrote the game recap for Saturday night's game, which you may have gleaned from the sub-headline (or from, like, watching it or something) was won by the Cardinals by a score of 12-2.
RB's Spring Surprise self-evaluation
In following Ben's lead from Saturday, the red baron evaluated his own picks for which Cardinals would surprise in Spring Training. Also, it turns out I'm not the only VEB writer whose dad initially thought the Cardinals had signed Miguel Tejada and not Ruben Tejada. So there's that.
April 10, 2016: We won (again)!
Once again, the Cardinals scored 12 runs, and although yesterday did not produce quite as overwhelming of a result as Saturday, it's hard to argue with a 12-7 victory to bring the Cardinals back to .500. WyoCardsFan handled the recap.
It's the home opener, folks. Let's have a great one.